Mayor TenHaken’s office sends out bizarre photo to advocate for the closure of Elmwood Ave.

You can’t make this stuff up. The mayor’s office sends out the above photo to the city councilors to advocate for the closure of Elmwood Avenue. Saying this;

02-08-19 Update: Mayor Paul TenHaken stated that Erica Beck, Chief of Staff had sent an email to council outlining the administration’s analysis of the street vacation request. The administration supports the vacation, and is not obligated to be neutral. The Crippled Children’s Hospital and School was built in a corn field and predated the neighborhood.

Their argument that they were their first is ridiculous. First off, zoning laws have changed numerous times since the hospital was built. The neighborhood has also changed. The hospital and it’s ownership has changed names at least 4 times since it was built. On top of the that, the current facility plans to sell within 5 years with no idea who will move into the facility (though the rumor is Sanford wants to snatch it up).

While I disagree with some things in our current zoning laws, street closures should NOT occur because someone or some entity with the most money wants it closed. It should be based on what is best for the neighborhood, which is obvious, keeping the street since Elmwood is the only street in that neighborhood that goes all the way through.

But I have an even bigger issue with the Mayor’s office trying to advocate for a private business and influencing the council’s vote before they have the appropriate hearing. This is what happens when your Deputy COS comes from a right-wing partisan-hack background that doesn’t understand how non-partisan, municipal government works. If PTH wants to veto it after the fact, fine, but him and his staff are not acting ethically in this matter, and it’s a damn shame.


#1 Taxpayers Say No on 02.09.19 at 2:48 pm

I watched this request for street vacation go through first and second readings before the Council in the first go-round.

When the LifeScape rep testified they anticipated only being at that location another five years, it became quite clear that the reason they want the street vacated is to make the property more marketable.

They’ve known for years that they have a parking problem and that their agreement with the VA was running out.

Elmwood Avenue belongs to the taxpayers and should not be vacated just so LifeScape can make a bigger profit when they go to sell the property!

#2 Anne Nelson on 02.09.19 at 8:51 pm

Wow! This makes my blood boil!
1. This is not for the mayor to decide or to advocate for.
2. Lifescape bought the property knowing the timeline for the parking lease and just because they now own the building does not mean they are entitled to disrupting the neighborhood for their personal short term gain.
3. Our city needs to stick to development plans which benefits the people and business. To continuously remove homes for the sake of business growth is unfair to our area homeowners.
4. The homes being removed are perfect for first time home buyers and retirees. We have a shortage of affordable homes for these buyers.
5. Closing the street only benefits Lifescape not the neighbors or nearby churches. In fact creating a big parking lot in the middle of this neighborhood decreases the values of the nearby homes.
6. Lifescape owns all but 3 homes on the block already. It is naive to think they won’t buy them up given the opportunity and turn the whole block into a parking lot. And if they are planning on selling in 5 years they still own the other houses putting the next owner in a position to repeat this same objective in the future.
On the flip side of the block Bethany Nursing Home owns all but 2 homes on Holly Ave directly across the street and then 2 more on 28th St. So the writing is on the wall for these businesses intentions.
7. The city just invested in the Aquatics center and the people who can afford these homes being removed for parking lots who would benefit from the pool are having to find houses on the outskirts of the community away from the very facility that was supposed to benefit them not just those who could afford to drive there to use it.
Our city councilors must vote against this project.

#3 Robert Garrigan on 02.09.19 at 9:20 pm

The removal of all of the homes from the west side of Elmwood Avenue in this area is a scar in the neighborhood. Big trees have been removed and the ground is bare. Just imagine what that would look like going all the way to Lincoln Avenue to the west. All of the traffic that would bypass a closing of Elmwood would have to go somewhere. Much of it is going to be placed on Lincoln Sve. Lincoln is a poor choice for that level of traffic. Keep the street open. Show some respect for this neighborhood.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.09.19 at 10:07 pm

This is definitely a taking. The City needs to pay up to those in that neighborhood who will see a reduction in their property values because of this reality.

#5 anonymous on 02.11.19 at 12:37 pm

Isn’t LifeScape also asking for a street to be vacated near their Western Avenue site?

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